Nancy Oakes's Reviews > Rosa

Rosa by Jonathan Rabb
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's review
Nov 06, 08

bookshelves: escape-reading, gave-away

The title refers to the socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg; indeed, the action in this book takes place just after her death in 1919.Obviously, she is not the main character, but her death is a central element in this most ingenious novel.

Nikolai Hoffner is an inspector in post-war Germany's Kriminalpolizei(Kripo), and he leads the investigation of a series of bizarrre murders in which the killer engraves patterns in his victims' backs with a knife after he kills them. One of the bodies that he is called out to see turns out to be that of Luxemburg, and it too has the strange markings. Because it is Rosa's body, however, Hoffner finds himself and his investigation being thwarted, as the case now finds its way into more political channels. But Hoffner can't give up the case no matter what.

Hoffner is a very flawed individual, making his character just that much more believable. In fact, all of the characters are portrayed rather well. The author takes on a noirish tone in this book, which was engrossing from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend it to people interested in historical fiction, or who want something decidedly different on their to be read stack of mystery novels. Be warned...this is not a touchy-feely, feel good kind of novel -- it's gritty and realistic.

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy You have been reading some interesting stuff lately! Where did you hear about these mysteries? I've never heard of most of these authors.

Nancy Oakes I'm just starting to really get into the Scandinavian mystery authors, and I bought a few of these on sale at my local B&N -- you know, buy one, get one. They had a table of Scandinavian mysteries so I bought a few for my trip.

As far as Rosa, I bought it for my Kindle, because I'd read Rabb's book "The Overseer" some time ago, and I knew this would be the first in a planned series.

The Railway Detective and The Excursion Train I actually bought in a friends of the library in California when we were out there; I have some other mysteries set in medieval times by the author, Edward Marston.

I often use the "if you liked this" feature on fantastic fiction (do you know that website?) when I'm looking up a possible author or an author's series works, and that's kind of cool because it introduces me to authors I'd never heard of!

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